I am the first to admit that when a lockdown was first discussed my thoughts were not about the virus.
My concerns were for people living alone, like myself, who battle with mental illness. For the children and people stuck at home with abusers or in neglect.
And of course, as a business owner, my worries were with mine and my client’s businesses.
Let’s Get Real
I have battled with mental illness myself and although my chronic depression has shifted to situational depression and my anxiety has evolved on its own, this unprecedented situation can bring up all manner of demons.
So, when I envisioned people with mental illness stuck in quarantine, I thought about the depression that they might have gone out to find help for. I considered the anxieties that would build from the panic.
That’s not to say that I just considered them. I could see them. I can remember what it felt like to be so depressed that I wouldn’t leave my apartment or talk to anyone for a week at a time. I remember the darkness that lurked in the depths of my mind even in the happiest of times. I knew the hopelessness that people would experience when forced to isolate.
I tried to warn my friends, there would be more suicides if we were forced to lockdown. Sadly, few of those will be reported in relation.
Don’t Make Me Panic!
As I worried and watched the panic grow, I knew this would hurt people with anxiety and chronic fear at an extreme level.
Last year my anxieties shifted from being afraid to go out to being afraid of losing all that I owned (with good reason) but when the panic over the virus started it shifted again.
I stated many times that I was more afraid of the panicking people than I was the virus, and that hasn’t changed.
I even had an incident with people making up their own rules which caused a bunch of people to start yelling at me in a grocery store. This triggered me and I struggled to sleep without waking up in a panic and the afternoon it happened I cried for hours.
For those of us that have experienced traumas in our lives, the panic, ignorance and selfishness of people is only adding to our struggles. Ones we didn’t even realize we had.
So many people were seeing this quarantine as a staycation. But for a business owner it was a time to reconsider how we do business.
I had my own fears, in fact, I was terrified of what this would do to the economy.
But, I was focused on offering my knowledge and support to my clients.
Inside I struggled. I wanted to have more spare time like some people, but that’s not the way I built my life. I fought with myself. How do I see this strange event? Do I change how I work? Do I find some deep gem of change in my life?
However, my whole goal was a laptop lifestyle so being technically geared means that my business can withstand this.
In the first few days I had calls and emails with panicked and totally in control clients. I watched some get shoved into decisions that could kill their business and others prepared to weather the storm.
There was no room for my anxiety.
Others won’t be so lucky.
It’s Not Over Yet
Despite trying to convince myself that it’s my second winter (hibernation time!) the warm and sunny weather teases at my restlessness, as I’m sure it does you.
While some people are still living life (living alone and working from home anyone?) as normal, others are trying to see it as a staycation and others as a time to improve themselves, or some combination of all three.
I do see the light at the end of this quarantine tunnel but let’s not be mistaken. The cleanup will take years.
The people will be mentally and emotionally damaged and the economy will take a long time to recover, particularly the small bricks and mortar businesses.
There have been many memes and quotes about trying not to go back to normal but the truth is, we will try. We have to.
If there’s no sense of normalcy to grasp for we will fight a deeper well of depression.
The evolution of normal will happen over time, whether we will it to or not. It’s hard to unsee what has now been shown.
And, let’s not forget, the virus won’t really be gone and we may need to be prepared for a resurgence.